By Abdul Kerimkhanov
OSCE seeks to strengthen the mediating role of its Minsk Group to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as it considers peace diplomacy as a priority.
President of OSCE PA George Tsereteli met in Baku with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to discuss the ways to accelerate the solution to the conflict.
Mammadyarov noted the important role of the OSCE, including OSCE PA, in the European security system. He informed Tsereteli about the latest negotiation process on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
Referring to the latest statements of the Armenian leadership and the bloody provocations on the front line, Mammadyarov noted that such irresponsible actions hinder the negotiations process.
He stressed the unchanged position of Azerbaijan in the negotiations. Mammadyarov noted that the negotiations priority is the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories and the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to their homelands.
In turn, Tsereteli said that he paid special attention to these important issues during his work in office as head of OSCE PA. He noted the importance of eradicating conflicts and eliminating their humanitarian consequences.
Tsereteli mentioned that the OSCE PA is ready to provide opportunities to various contacts for these purposes.
During the meeting, the sides noted the effective participation of Azerbaijan in the work of the OSCE PA and a special contribution to the organization’s activities. Further, the parties discussed issues of cooperation with an emphasis on the importance of developing parliamentary cooperation in the OSCE area.
Azerbaijan has always stated that it would not allow the establishment second Armenian state in its internationally-recognized territories under any circumstances.
For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.
A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by the U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country's territories.